Expert articles and wine tasting videos profiling wines from California, California wine regions, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, & more.

2013 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, USA, California, Napa, Stags Leap District, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$297.00USD

Shafer Hillside Select is truly an American First growth.  It has the production levels, the long history and the quality.  A great bottle of wine.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, slight blueberries, char, graphite and spice.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  On the  palate, great texture.  Notes of cassis with graphite and char.  Deep and complex.  Long finish.  This is not yet at peak but getting there.  Delicious.  Drink over the next twenty years.  Great on its own, but this will work with hearty foods as well.  This would be perfect with brisket.  

2016 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon RBS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$265.00USD

It was great to try this wine again.  The last bottle about a year ago was stunning and so was this one.  The wine is opening up nicely if still young.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is excellent with cassis, blueberries, coffee grounds, spice and graphite.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  Wonderful texture.  Lots of energy and great balance.  On the palate, cassis, coffee, blueberries and spice.  Long finish.

2006 Opus One, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$450.00USD

Inky purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is great with cassis, graphite, dark chocolate and cigar box.  Full bodied.  Tannins mostly resolved but a few hanging around.  This is complex and layered and unwinds beautifully in the glass.  Notes of cassis, black cherries, and underlying earthiness.  Good acidity.  Good finish.  This seems at or just past peak, but drinking well.  The vintage was a bit difficult but there is no lack of ripeness.  Drink up.  This will be better with food.  It would work well with beef stroganoff.  

2016 Promontory, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$899.00USD

Stunning wine.  This was tasted blind in a flight with some truly great labels and this was my favorite.  Blind I guessed that this was a 2013 Schrader Cabernet.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is gorgeous with cassis, pencil lead, cedar chocolate and gravel.  Full bodied.  Medium to firm tannins.  Incredible, seamless texture.  Great balance.  On the palate, cassis, slight blueberries, chocolate and char.  Long finish.  Complex and deep.  Very impressive.  This is young and will no doubt evolve more but its great right now.  Drink over the next 25 years.  

2012 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Rutherford, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$740.00USD

Served blind, I got lucky and guessed 2017 Scarecrow.  This was more open and ready than I might have expected for 2012, which is why I guessed 2017.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, cedar and clay.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  great energy and balance.  On the palate, this is seamless.  So smooth.  Cassis with wet rocks/light earthiness.  Long finish.  This may still improve and will undoubtedly age more.  Drink over the next fifteen to twenty years.  Great on its own, this is a classic steak house wine.  

2008 Carlisle Syrah James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

Not quite as good as the 2007, but still excellent.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, char, black pepper and roasted meats.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, juicy acidity.  Black raspberries, black pepper and char.  Long finish.  This seems about at peak.  Drinking great on its own, it would also work well with roasted vegetables or meats.  Drink over the next five to ten years.  

2018 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$115.00USD

This is the basic Cabernet in Myriad's lineup.  A stunning wine if not at the level of the single vineyard offerings.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, slight tobacco, leather, spice and char.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, great balance.  Lots of cassis with black pepper and underlying char.  Long finish.  This is not a fruit monster but it is a bigger wine.  At age 5, it is barely showing much development, but is still enjoyable.  Ideally, cellar for five more and then drink for fifteen to twenty after that.  

2007 Carlisle Syrah James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

James Berry Vineyard is one of the great Syrah vineyards in the world.  It is the home vineyard for Saxum.  Carlisle's version is a bit less blousy perhaps but really a wonderful wine.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, slight bacon fat, slight gamey meat with some white pepper.  Wonderful, almost seamless, texture.  Great energy and balance.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Complex and just about at maturity.  Notes of black raspberries, black pepper and char.  Long finish.  Drink over the next ten to fifteen years.  

2017 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

Another classic Chardonnay from this producer.  Santa Cruz is south of San Francisco.  Light golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose is great with lemons, slight vanilla and spice.  Crisp texture.  Great acidity.  This is just starting to open and has a long life left.  Lemons and green apples with some underlying spice.  Long finish.  Drink over the next ten years.  

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